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Rip Tides in Costa Rica

Rip tides in Costa Rica are a vicious and very unforgiving beast. The rip tides in Costa Rica account for the majority of tourist deaths in the country. All though these rip tides are a deadly force, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself against these tidal currents.

Rip tides, more properly known as rip currents or undertows, are found at a number of beaches all over Costa Rica. The strength of the rip tides vary from beach to beach and season to season. If you are unaware of how to spot rip tides, you should ask a local surfer or your hotel about the swimming conditions at the beaches near by.

Rip Tide Facts for Costa Rica

  • 90% of Costa Rica’s 150 to 200 total drowning deaths each year occur at 5% of Costa Rica’s beaches.
  • 80% of those deaths are rip tide assisted.

How to Deal with Rip Tides

The best preventative against rip tides is not to go swimming in these dangerous areas. It is also a good idea to stay out of the water if you have been drinking. If you find yourself caught in a rip tide, the first thing you should do is not panic. Once you realize you are being carried out to sea by a rip tide, start swimming into shore by swimming parallel to it and slowly angling yourself toward the shore.

Trying to swim directly back to shore will only cause you to loose your energy and in turn cause the rip tide to carry you out even further.